If you go to the gym, chances are, the elliptical trainers and treadmills are two of the most popular machines in there. Whenever you look around, there will always be someone or the other on these machines, breaking a sweat, trying to get down a size or two.
Let us tell you the simple reasons for the popularity of these machines-
- They both provide effective cardio workouts
- They can assist in burning a lot of calories.
That being said, both treadmills and elliptical machines have their benefits and drawbacks. When to use which machine? What trainer is the best for weight loss? Let us have a look.
The elliptical trainer and its benefits
Combining arm and leg motion, the elliptical trainer is a popular choice for both home and gym use. Come on, let us have a look at what it offers!
- Low-impact training, running motion without causing an impact on joints as a treadmill does.
- Cross training, as due to the movable handles, the full body can be worked on.
- Lower amounts of perceived exertion, i.e., people working harder than they feel on an elliptical machine. This can help people to burn more calories with less effort on an elliptical trainer.
- Maybe slightly safer, as feet do not leave the pedals, thus eliminating chances of misstep or falling
- Reverse workout and pedaling motion, which helps exercise the hamstrings and calves a bit more.
- Cost-effectiveness, as elliptical machines are far cheaper than traditional treadmills.
In spite of having its benefits, the elliptical trainer does possess some disadvantages too.
Elongated workouts may result in you having numb feet. This no-impact workout may be beneficial for those with joint troubles. For proper functioning of joints, though, some form of impact workout is needed. Just sitting around won’t accomplish anything, will it?
For new users, the quadriceps are engaged in a new way when working out on the elliptical machine. This can result in a burning sensation, the kind that happens when you burn out a muscle. Worry not, this subsides after a few workouts with the elliptical trainer.
Due to the elliptical machine being suspended off the ground (the pedals), the weight-bearing effect is absent. This effect is important to strengthen the bones and muscles, especially in older people.
Coming to the treadmill
Treadmills are by far one of the most popular machines to work out on, both at homes and in gyms. Let us look at the benefits they offer our body-
- A wide range of workout options, from walks to jogs to sprints.
- Higher calorie burn rate, as propelling the body forward requires a large amount of effort.
- Well-researched machines, as they have been around for decades, and are commonly found at gyms and homes.
- The natural movement of running or jogging is emulated when working out on a treadmill.
- Easy to use and get used to, involves no real learning curve.
All these benefits appear to make treadmills invincible. This is not the case, however. Treadmills can be increasingly tough on joints, spine, knees and ankles. If you do not warm up or stretch before using one, treadmills can have significant impacts on your body.
Due to the moving belt, there is always a risk of a misstep and falling down, resulting in serious injuries. Breaking an arm or a leg during a workout is a big no-no, isn’t it? Also, inclined training or high speed sprinting may be dangerous if your body is not equipped to handle such workouts.
The full body does not get engaged with a treadmill workout. As opposed to an elliptical machine, where the levers for the arms act as cross training devices, the treadmill only involves the legs and back region, similar to jogging and running. You’ve got to work out more than just your legs!
So, what is the final word?
It all depends on the demands of the user.
If you are training for a sprint or dash competition coming up, it does not make sense to train on the elliptical machine. Make the treadmill your best friend, and train on it day and night.
If you wish to work out the whole body, and calorie burning is your priority, then the elliptical trainer is just for you. The cross-training ability cannot be matched by any treadmill whatsoever.
In recent times, elliptical machines have taken over most homes and gyms. Their insane popularity is justified because they offer us such an insane range of benefits! Plus, getting on that elliptical and working hard is a feeling unmatched by any workout whatsoever!
So, choose what fits best for you, and get going!